from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Health (from the Old High German gisunt “well-preserved, alive, healthy ”, from the Germanic root sunto “active, sprightly, healthy” and originally related to “speed”, which can be derived from sento ) is related to the individual, mostly as a state of the physical and / or mental subjective well-being , whereby, however, already existing but still unnoticed diseases (such as cancerous tumors) are not included. In relation to a population, health stands for the lowest possible level of disease burden. Health has a subjective side with experience and, on the other hand, also appears to be objectively ascertainable through the absence of illness , in the absence of a medical diagnosis . Regaining health is referred to as being healthy or recovering .


Health is a multi-layered concept in cultural and historical terms. It is understood differently depending on the scientific discipline, and the subjective concept of health of each individual also varies greatly. B. depending on age, gender, education and cultural background. A scientifically understood narrow concept of health based on the bio-medical model is offset by a holistic concept of health. Health can relate to the individual and be understood as a state of physical and mental well-being, or physical and psychological functioning and productivity. Health (Latin sanitas ) can also be used as the opposite of illness (previously also called unhealth , Latin insanitas ) and then describes the desirable “normal” state (as a normative concept) as the absence of illness. Health can also affect a collective, e.g. The population, and then describes the level of low disease burden in a population .

There are a variety of health definitions that can be distinguished in terms of their basic assumptions. The following list presents some of them:

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity ." ( "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not Merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ")
"Health is that degree of illness that still allows me to pursue my essential occupations."
health is a functional requirement of society. Another frequently quoted definition by Parsons is "Health is a state of optimal efficiency of an individual for the effective fulfillment of the roles and tasks for which he has been socialized."
  • Health science definition:
In the health sciences is often Antonovsky and the concept of salutogenesis reference. Health is not understood as a normal, passive state of equilibrium ( homeostasis ) and not just as the absence of illness, but as an unstable, active and dynamically regulating process (heterostasis) and as one of the extreme poles on the continuum of illness and health. Health has a physical, psychological, social and ecological dimension and therefore cannot be researched through scientific and medical analyzes alone, but must also be researched through psychological, sociological, economic and ecological analyzes. Other health scientists understand health, based on the definition of the WHO, as the "state of the objective and subjective well-being of a person, which is given when this person is in the physical, psychological and social areas of their development in harmony with their own possibilities and goals and the prevailing external living conditions. ”In Hurrelmann's understanding , health is a pleasant and by no means a self-evident state of equilibrium between risk and protective factors, which is repeatedly called into question at every point in life history. If the balance succeeds, meaning and joy can be gained from life, a productive development of one's own skills and performance potential is possible, and the willingness to integrate and get involved in society increases. Hurrelmann defines health for English elsewhere as: “Health is composed of physical, psychological, and social aspects which influence each other reciprocally. Health is closely connected to individual and collective value systems and behavior patterns which are manifest in personal life styles. It is a state of equilibrium which must be continuously maintained during the life course. "
Monika Krohwinkel identifies well-being and independence as subjectively perceived parts of health. "Illness and health are 'dynamic processes' that are recognizable as skills and deficits for nursing."
As part of the health care model, Reinhard Lay has presented a newer definition of health based on nursing science: “Health means a satisfactory development of independence and well-being in the activities of life.” Lay understands care as promoting health .
deals with subjective health definitions of children and adolescents. Their concept of health is abstract and is understood as a negative distinction from illness. Mental dimensions (“having no worries”) are important components of the concept of health even in adolescence.
  • Historical definition from antiquity to the 19th century:
In the concept of humoral pathology , health is eukrasia (a balance of well-tempered body fluids and temperaments ).

Social inequality and health

Social-epidemiological studies show that people from socio-economically better-off strata in Germany are healthier and have a longer life expectancy than people with a lower level of education , income and professional status. There are class-specific differences in health and illness behavior, e.g. B. diet or smoking, which leads to health inequalities , differences in mortality and morbidity . According to Mielck, the reasons for this lie in

  • Differences in health burdens, e.g. B. Stresses in the workplace,
  • Differences in coping resources, e.g. B. social support, and
  • Differences in health care, e.g. B. Doctor-patient communication.

From the perspective of inequality research, the question of a healthy life is not only a question of health, but also always a socio-political one and, in relation to health, which is “a valuable good, but not a commodity”, it is also an ethical question.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Health  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: The Art of Living Happily - Health  - Learning and Teaching Materials

supporting documents

  1. ^ Heinrich Schipperges †: Health. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 486.
  2. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th edition. Edited by Walther Mitzka . De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , pp. 253 and 255.
  3. Jürgen Martin: The 'Ulmer Wundarznei'. Introduction - Text - Glossary on a monument to German specialist prose from the 15th century. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1991 (= Würzburg medical-historical research. Volume 52), ISBN 3-88479-801-4 (also medical dissertation Würzburg 1990), p. 181.
  4. Axel W. Bauer : Health as a normative concept from a medical theoretical and medical historical perspective. In: Ilona Biendarra, Marc Weeren (Hrsgg.): Gesundheit –Gesundheiten? A guide. Würzburg 2009, pp. 31-57.
  5. Franke, Alexa: Models of health and illness . 3rd, revised edition. Huber, Bern 2012.
  6. Constitution of the World Health Organization, German translation (PDF; 533 kB)
  7. ^ Talcott Parsons: Structure and Function of Modern Medicine . In: König, Renè; Margret Tönnesmann (ed.): Problems of medicine-sociology. Special issue 3 of the Cologne journal for sociology and social psychiatry. 1958, pp. 10-57.
  8. ^ Talcott Parsons: Definition of Health and Disease in the Light of Values ​​and the Social Structure of America . In: Alexander Mitscherlich, Tobias Brocher, Otto von Mering and Klaus Horn (eds.): The sick person in modern society. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne / Berlin 1967, pp. 57–87.
  9. Aaron Antonovsky: Salutogenesis. To demystify health. Tübingen 1997; Franke, Alexa: Salutogenetic Perspective (2015) doi : 10.17623 / BZGA: 224-i104-1.0
  10. Klaus Hurrelmann and Oliver Razum (eds.): Handbook of Health Sciences . 6th, revised edition. Beltz / Juventa Weinheim 2016.
  11. ^ Klaus Hurrelmann: Health Sociology . Juventa, Weinheim 2010; Richter, Matthias / Hurrelmann, Klaus (ed.): Sociology of health and illness. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-658-11009-3 .
  12. ^ Klaus Hurrelmann: Health Sciences . Springer, Heidelberg 1999.
  13. ^ Klaus Hurrelmann: Health Sociology . Juventa, Weinheim 2010; Hurrelmann, Klaus / Franzkowiak, Peter: Health (2015) doi: 10.17623 / BZGA: 224-i023-1.0
  14. ^ Klaus Hurrelmann: Human Development and Health. Springer, New York, p. 5.
  15. Monika Krohwinkel u. a .: The nursing contribution to health in research and practice . Agnes Karll Institute for Nursing Research (DBfK), (Series of publications by the Federal Ministry of Health, Vol. 12), Nomos-Verl.-Ges., Baden-Baden 1992, ISBN 3-7890-2729-4 .
  16. Reinhard Lay: Ethics in Care. A textbook for basic, advanced and advanced training. Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft, second edition, Hannover 2012, p. 201 (first edition 2004, p. 139), ISBN 978-3-89993-271-3 .
  17. Reinhard Lay: Ethics in Care. A textbook for basic, advanced and advanced training. Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft, second edition. Hannover 2012, p. 210 (first edition 2004, p. 144), ISBN 978-3-89993-271-3 .
  18. Inge Seiffge-Krenke: Health as an active design process in the human life course . In: Rolf Oerter, Leo Montada: Developmental Psychology, PVU, Weinheim Basel Berlin, 4th edition, 1998, p. 836.
  19. ^ Heinrich Schipperges †: Health. In: Werner E. Gerabek, Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil, Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 486.
  20. Thomas Lampert, Lars Eric Kroll: Influence of income position on health and life expectancy . DIW Discussion Paper 527/2005
  21. Thomas Lampert, Thomas Ziese: Poverty, social inequality and health . Expertise of the Robert Koch Institute on the 2nd poverty and wealth report of the federal government. BMGS, Bonn 2005.
  22. ^ Andreas Mielck: Social inequality and health. Introduction to the current discussion. Bern 2005, ISBN 3-456-84235-X , p. 58.